Here’s what’s up in the world of TV for Sunday, December 25. All times are Eastern.
Doctor Who: The Return Of Doctor Mysterio (BBC America, 9 p.m.): Merry Christmas everybody! We all hope that your respective holiday celebrations are treating you well and that you’re not suffering too much from the fact that there’s nothing new on television. If you are, the BBC has a present for you with the latest in the grand tradition of Doctor Who Christmas specials. It’s an even more welcome gift this year given that we haven’t seen the Doctor since last Christmas (no, not “Last Christmas”) in “The Husbands Of River Song,” and absence has made the heart grow fonder. Tonight, Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor and Matt Lucas’ Nardole team up with a reporter (Wolf Hall’s Charity Wakefield) and a superhero called the Ghost (Shameless’s Justin Chatwin) to save New York City from brain-swapping aliens. Alasdair Wilkins was already happy to make an overdue return to the TARDIS, but adding superheroes just sweetens the deal.
The Hollow Crown: Richard III (PBS, 9 p.m.): Part three of The War Of The Roses concludes tonight, as the crown rests securely on the head of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Richard III. As to the security of the head it’s resting on, well… let’s just say there’s a reason that this play is counted amongst Shakespeare’s tragedies and not his comedies.
Premieres and finales
Call The Midwife (PBS, 7:30 p.m.): The BBC continues to save us from the vast wasteland of holiday programming with another Christmas special, this one for Call The Midwife. The ladies of Nonnatus House are out of their comfort zones this holiday season as they travel to South Africa in an effort to save a clinic in jeopardy.
When Calls The Heart (Hallmark, 8 p.m.): The passing of Christmas means that the wonderful stream of cheesy Christmas movies finally has to dry up, and it just leaves us feeling inconsolable. Instead, we’ll have to rely on everyday cheesy Hallmark programming like When Calls The Heart, whose holiday special contains the themes of “faith, hope and community.” Sounds reasonable to us.
Holiday Baking Championship (Food Network, 9 p.m.): The grand prize was awarded last week, but that isn’t stopping Food Network from another special. Because in the grand tradition of the holiday feast, who can truly be satisfied?
There’s nothing on tonight, so our writers are all engaged in their various holiday rituals. Why don’t you stop reading this and join the party?
Community, “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”: Christmas. It’s the crazy notion that the longest, coldest, darkest nights can be the warmest and brightest. And when we all agree to support each other in that insanity, something even crazier happens. It becomes true. Works every year, like clockwork. The meaning of Christmas is the idea that Christmas has meaning, and it can mean whatever we want. From all of us at The A.V. Club, we hope your holiday is full of warmth, brightness, and whatever you want it to mean.
Merry Christmas, everyone. Thanks for reading.